The Ratings Dance

Reversing down trending audience numbers is a matter of executing detailed analysis of available information and then using elbow grease to provide consumers with what they really want.

The Ratings DanceSeptember 11, 2014

Brand Loyalty / broadcast + new media / radio - By: Bill Pasha

A century and a half ago or more in the American west, droughts could come over the land that were so lengthy that lakes turned into deserts, booming riverfront bars became just more abandoned buildings in once bustling ghost towns, and the settlers…well, the settlers would become very superstitious. They’d do anything, pay anything, to bring them life-giving rain. Roving rainmakers, charlatans all, came out of the woodwork to provide relief and relieve the affected townspeople of their savings.

Even native American tribes had a long history of petitioning their gods for relief through the custom of the rain dance.

Even native American tribes had a long history of petitioning their gods for relief through the custom of the rain dance.

Unfortunately, neither rainmakers nor rain dances actually provided the desired meteorological outcome.

That’s why what you do when your brand experiences a drought is so important.

The broadcast pioneers of old knew how to deal with audience drought, and it had nothing to do with magic. Reversing down trending audience numbers is a matter of executing detailed analysis of available information and then using elbow grease to provide consumers with what they really want.

This article details everything that you should do, from the moment you receive ratings or brand information until the point that you act upon that knowledge.

In most countries, there is such detailed information about your audience that you should examine every piece of it because it WILL provide you with the answers you need to create or maintain a winning brand.

No radio, television or online executive has a blanket answer for how to analyze brand information, but we have a thumbnail sketch that has served our programming and sales consultants well for many decades of successful media operation:

When the Information Arrives

  • Resist the temptation to discount the big numbers. Sure, 6+ or 12+ Persons is a family reunion, not a meaningful demo, but remember that this information represents the largest sample of respondents in your research. This combined group holds value, but don’t forget to question authority. Was the sample size enough? Did they
  • Use the big sample to determine the magnitude of your gains or losses. To do this, we recommend that you review data from a wide period of time, to create trend information that will be lasting and useful because it paints a large picture of where your performance has been strong or weak. If you believe in starting at the beginning, this is your best first step.
  • Create a spreadsheet with the information that is most valuable to you. You could use the reports that you examine in your ratings or research software program, but creating your own spreadsheet forces you to review the information in detail, and it provides you with a crystal clear focus on the picture that will benefit you the most.
  • When you’re done creating information about your platform, create the same data set for your competitors. This exercise provides you with an overall situational awareness of your competitive landscape.


Note: Only two factors really matter to any media platform when evaluating consumer engagement. These factors are the total number of people who use your brand within a specific time frame, and the total amount of time the consumers is engaged (uses) your brand. This total number of media users has different names across different media platforms. What term you employ will be dependent upon the “language” of your ratings or research provider.

The next step is extremely important.

  • Keep an events diary. This is a set of notes, day by day, that tracks any market events that might impact the ratings of you or your competitor. A big news event, a weather situation, or a $1 Million giveaway by one of your competitors, might really change the field of play. It helps if you can remember the exact day that something changed, and this is the way to do it.
  • Look back to last year and compare numbers. Ups and downs may be annual occurrences due to vacations, back-to-school, holidays, etc. Knowing when highs and lows are likely to occur, allows you to act upon the force before it acts on you.
  • New and/or unexpected highs by a competitor may indicate hidden marketing or some other unnoticed improvement on their part.


Great ratings books deserve celebration. The celebration establishes leadership, trust, underscores your support of your team.

  • Keep momentum on your side. Research your audience, music and promotions, whenever you can.

If you have any questions or need help, we are here for you.


Post by

Bill Pasha
President/CEO

Bill Pasha is President/CEO of The MBMI Companies, LLC., the parent firm of MultiBrand Media International, Maximized Brand Marketing International and Valoriant Safety. Before joining the entrepreneurial world, Bill was recognized as one of the top Program Directors in America and as an authority on consumer consumption of media. He continues to consult broadcasters around the world.

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